This project will use the pulse-width modulator (PWM) to ramp an LED on and off every two seconds. An AT90S2313 processor will be used as the controller. The circuit for this demonstration is shown in the schematic diagram. If you have a development kit, you should be able to use it, rather than build the circuit, for this project.


Meanwhile, the AT90S2313 became obsolete. Either use its successor, the (pin-compatible) ATtiny2313 for the project, or perhaps the ATmega8 or one of its successors (ATmega48/88/168) which have become quite popular since the original demo project had been established. For all these more modern devices, it is no longer necessary to use an external crystal for clocking as they ship with the internal 1 MHz oscillator enabled, so C1, C2, and Q1 can be omitted. Normally, for this experiment, the external circuitry on /RESET (R1, C3) can be omitted as well, leaving only the AVR, the LED, the bypass capacitor C4, and perhaps R2. For the ATmega8/48/88/168, use PB1 (pin 15 at the DIP-28 package) to connect the LED to. Additionally, this demo has been ported to many different other AVRs. The location of the respective OC pin varies between different AVRs, and it is mandated by the AVR hardware.

The source code is given in demo.c. For the sake of this example, create a file called demo.c containing this source code. Some of the more important parts of the code are:

Note [1]:

As the AVR microcontroller series has been developed during the past years, new features have been added over time. Even though the basic concepts of the timer/counter1 are still the same as they used to be back in early 2001 when this simple demo was written initially, the names of registers and bits have been changed slightly to reflect the new features. Also, the port and pin mapping of the output compare match 1A (or 1 for older devices) pin which is used to control the LED varies between different AVRs. The file iocompat.h tries to abstract between all this differences using some preprocessor #ifdef statements, so the actual program itself can operate on a common set of symbolic names. The macros defined by that file are:

  • OCR the name of the OCR register used to control the PWM (usually either OCR1 or OCR1A)

  • DDROC the name of the DDR (data direction register) for the OC output

  • OC1 the pin number of the OC1[A] output within its port

  • TIMER1_TOP the TOP value of the timer used for the PWM (1023 for 10-bit PWMs, 255 for devices that can only handle an 8-bit PWM)

  • TIMER1_PWM_INIT the initialization bits to be set into control register 1A in order to setup 10-bit (or 8-bit) phase and frequency correct PWM mode

  • TIMER1_CLOCKSOURCE the clock bits to set in the respective control register to start the PWM timer; usually the timer runs at full CPU clock for 10-bit PWMs, while it runs on a prescaled clock for 8-bit PWMs

Note [2]:

ISR() is a macro that marks the function as an interrupt routine. In this case, the function will get called when timer 1 overflows. Setting up interrupts is explained in greater detail in <avr/interrupt.h>: Interrupts.

Note [3]:

The PWM is being used in 10-bit mode, so we need a 16-bit variable to remember the current value.

Note [4]:

This section determines the new value of the PWM.

Note [5]:

Here's where the newly computed value is loaded into the PWM register. Since we are in an interrupt routine, it is safe to use a 16-bit assignment to the register. Outside of an interrupt, the assignment should only be performed with interrupts disabled if there's a chance that an interrupt routine could also access this register (or another register that uses TEMP), see the appropriate FAQ entry.

Note [6]:

This routine gets called after a reset. It initializes the PWM and enables interrupts.

Note [7]:

The main loop of the program does nothing -- all the work is done by the interrupt routine! The sleep_mode() puts the processor on sleep until the next interrupt, to conserve power. Of course, that probably won't be noticable as we are still driving a LED, it is merely mentioned here to demonstrate the basic principle.

Note [8]:

Early AVR devices saturate their outputs at rather low currents when sourcing current, so the LED can be connected directly, the resulting current through the LED will be about 15 mA. For modern parts (at least for the ATmega 128), however Atmel has drastically increased the IO source capability, so when operating at 5 V Vcc, R2 is needed. Its value should be about 150 Ohms. When operating the circuit at 3 V, it can still be omitted though.